The most important part of the burger is the actual burger. This is because without the hamburger meat, you will be left with cheese, onion, and other varied ingredients stuck between two pieces of bun.
There are certain cuts and meat-to-fat ratios to get for your beef, which we will break down in this article.
By the end, you will have plenty of options for grilling or cooking that meat!
Best Cuts for Ground Beef
When you are talking about the cut of beef to use for burgers, you are referring to the part of the animal you want the meat from.
We compiled a list of four different cuts you can use for your beef and what their strengths are.
Despite the name, the Chuck cut has nothing to do with a guy named Chuck. It refers to the beef that comes from the animal’s upper shoulder and lower neck.
The meat can be on the tough side but is also full of flavor.
For burgers, chuck is a common cut of beef people use. It comes with a buttery flavor that will appeal to anyone’s palate… and this isn’t even considering what it will taste like after you add everything else to the burger!
If you are considering using a sirloin cut for your burger meat, know that it comes from the top part of the cow’s back.
These cuts do not have a lot of fat on them, so you will not have to worry about too much of that in your burger.
They are also very tender and flavorful, a great combination when cooking or grilling burgers.
One of the things to remember about sirloin cuts is that they can lean on the expensive side, so you need to think before getting this type of cut.
It’s not as cheap as a chuck but could make your wallet sweat. However, if money is not an option, then consider buying it!
The Brisket cut is from the chest muscle of a cow, specifically near the front of their legs. This cut of meat is very tough because it’s coming from literal muscle.
Even though it’s very tough, it has a lot of flavors which is always a plus.
There also is the option to get ground brisket. It is like typical ground beef but made from brisket rather than, say, chuck or sirloin.
A short rib is actually from the area where you get the beef chuck cut from cows. However, in the chuck section, there are five short ribs.
This is where you get the short ribs from, and it has much less tenderness than other cuts but just as much flavor.
This may not be the first option you would go with for hamburgers, but nothing wrong with trying something a bit different!
Best Meat-to-Fat Ratio for Burgers
Besides the cut of beef, the meat-to-fat ratio is also just as important when selecting what kind of cut you want.
Some people want more fat, which helps give it flavor and juiciness, while others want a lower fat content.
In an 80/20 meat-to-fat ratio, you have 80 percent lean meat with a 20 percent fat content. Now fat will help add flavor to your beef, but the more fat there is, the more the meat will fall apart and/or shrink.
When you have an 80/20 ratio, what you end up with is a large amount of lean meat and just enough fat to keep the meat from drying up while cooking it.
It’s the best of both worlds, and this is why it’s one of the most popular meat-to-fat ratios available to purchase.
When you have an 85/15 meat-to-fat ratio, the leanness is at a whopping 85 percent, while the fat is only at about 15 percent.
Now, having just enough fat will create juices in the pan and stop it from drying out completely while cooking.
Because there is less fat found in this ratio, you are not going to have as much natural flavor. This can be circumnavigated by adding spices, sauce, onions, mushrooms, etc., while cooking. If you are looking for a healthier option, then this ratio is probably the one for you.
The 75/25 ratio has just a little less leanness and more fat than the 80/20 meat-to-fat ratio, and added fat means more flavor.
Yes, fat isn’t the healthiest option, but this cut is great if you want the juiciest, most tender hamburger you have ever had the joy of biting into.
It’s just enough on the not-so-healthy side for you not to feel bad about grilling up.
The added fat to the hamburger will also ensure that while you are cooking, the meat will never dry up and will remain thick with those juices.
The final choice on this list is the 70/30 meat-to-fat ratio, which gives us 70 percent lean meat and a 30 percent amount of fat content on our hamburger.
Out of these, this is probably the juiciest burger you are going to find. Once you get a juicy burger, you never go back.
The thing is, it is not the healthiest option out there, and with large fat content, you have less chance of the meat staying together.
When you are making hamburger patties, you want the meat to stay together and not break apart, so this may not be the best option.
And there you go, all your cheeseburger lovers out there.
Now that you’ve reached the end of the article, you probably have a vague idea of what cut of beef and what meat-to-fat ratio you feel will provide.
All of them have their strengths and weaknesses, so if one doesn’t work, try another! Eventually, you’ll find the type of beef you prefer your hamburgers to be made from.
It just may take some trial and error on your part to find the one that is truly suited for you and your palette.
You might also be interested in the following:
- Best Tomatoes for Burgers
- Best Wine for Burgers
- Best Buns for Burgers
- Best Pickles for Burgers
- Best Sides for Burgers
- Best Cheese for Burgers
- Best Lettuce for Burgers
- Best Onions for Burgers
I have been smoking and grilling meat from an early age and enjoy sharing my knowledge and expertise through the hundreds of articles I have written about BBQ. I hope to make everyone’s BBQ journey that little bit easier.